LAHORE

The business community representatives, expressing deep concern over hundreds of deaths in Karachi during the last four days due to severe heat wave, prolonged power breakdowns and water scarcity, has called for settling disputes to construct large dams including Kalabagh Dam, the only solution of water crisis that is going to engulf the whole country in the years to come.
“The All Pakistan Business Forum appreciates the MQM chief Altaf Hussain for supporting the most controversial but the most important project of Kalabagh Dam. We hope this move would pave way for early completion of this mega project,” observed APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi.
He said that the intensity of recent loadshedding during extremely hot weather in Karachi could have been decreased if KBD was there to provide 3600 MW of electricity to the national grid.
It is welcome step of Altaf Hussain to announce support for the construction of Kalabagh Dam and urged the government to complete this project after disposing of the reservations of Sindh people.
He said that Pakistan’s per capita water availability had already gone below 975 cubic metres from 5100 cubic meters in 1960 which is a great threat to industry, agriculture and masses which not only require urgent steps.
The World Bank had asked Pakistan to build a dam of the size of Tarbela at least every decade but successive governments failed to make a single dam despite resources which indicate lack of interest in securing country’s future.
The issue of water shortage and electricity outages should be resolved on war footing so that precious lives of innocent citizens could be saved.
Politicians should settle their dispute in the larger national interest and government should declare water as most important issue of national security.
Ibrahim Qureshi demanded the federation to summon a joint meeting of experts, from all the four provinces to address Sindh people’s reservations over the construction of Kalabagh Dam. He said that if the officials fail to overcome the reservations of Sindhis then they should build small dams across Sindh, so that the wastage of water can be handled.
The Institution of Engineers Pakistan, Lahore Centre Chairman Engineer Syed Khalid Sajjad said that the federal and provincial governments are continuously bashing one another, instead of providing a valid solution to the ongoing situation of Karachi. He said that colossal death toll within four days could have been minimized by ensuring uninterrupted power and water supplies to the Karachities during the ongoing scorching summer season.
Commenting the support of Altaf Hussain for KBD, he said that it is a very good omen for the country that politicians have realized the need of Kalabagh Dam that is inevitable to overcome water and power shortage in the country.
He said that economic growth lies in the generation of hydro power generation which is a cheap source of electricity.
Khalid Sajjad said that KBD is neither a technical nor a political issue, rather it is a humanitarian matter related to national survival which is being delayed by some politicians and so called experts to damage the federation on the directions of enemies of Pakistan.
Khalid Sajjad said that dams are built in the world to overcome water shortages and not to create problems. The Mangla Dam brought green revolution, the Tarbela Dam increased water supply to the canal network by 25 per cent while Sindh got an additional seven million acre feet of water while Sindh will get 2.2 million acre feet from Kalabagh.
LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz and Convener Standing Committee on Kalabagh Dam Abdul Basit said that Kalabagh dam is the most suitable project for the national economy as it would not only produce cheap and sufficient electricity but would also avert the human tragedies.
Abdul Basit said that Kalabagh dam is a must to control the poverty and hunger and those who are opposing the KBD were enemies of this country as they were playing with the country‘s future. They said civil society would have to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus as new large water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani.
They said that all the stakeholders should show some greater maturity on the issue of Kalabagh. It is the high time that all undue stands should be brushed aside to save the country from that era of darkness.
Pakistan Economy Watch chairman Dr Murtaza Mughal said that KBD is the most viable and most politicised project in the history of Pakistan which would cost less and last longer than any other dam in the country.
Local and international experts have linked survival of Pakistan to KBD and opined that desilting of Tarbela reservoir is not an economically or technically very viable option.